Sunday, December 31, 2006

Do you remember? Do you remember the New Year's Eve when the clock actually mattered because something slightly magical was happening? Do you remember the New Year's Eve you wished you were anywhere but where you were? Remember the kisses and the standing alone pretending you didn't care. Remember the toasts with friends at that bar that's no longer there and the toast with jam you made while babysitting. Remember to enjoy yourself if you can.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

Portland can give a person a false sense of anonymity. There are vast portions of this city that I never get to. Driving over to my friend's house in North Portland for Christmas was like going to another city. Southwest Portland (except for the downtown portion of it that doesn't really count) is a complete unknown full of neighborhoods that I've heard of but never seen. And yet, no one who lives here can go long without running into an old neighbor, an ex-wife, a former bandmate. I'm thinking that, maybe, there are only about five-hundred people actually living in this city.

Personally, I'm having an increasing problem running into clients. This fall, a client who lives in the neigborhood walked by as I was outside pulling weeds with a cigarette dangling out of my mouth. A few days ago, at the grocery store, I ran into some clients I see regularly. They had their two year old son with them. I had a basket with hair dye and condoms in it. You see the problem? There are certain things I don't want to know about my health care professionals. The brand of lube they use, would definitely be one of those things.

My clientelle are often neighborhood folk and I love my neighborhood. I guess this is yet another opportunity to give free reign to my personality and let the cards fall where they may.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Somewhere early on in my independent life, the refrigerator became not only a place to store food, but a place to display all the shameful photographs of the past and present. This is what happens when there aren't kids around cluttering things up with their drawings and report cards. The Fridge of Shame has gone through many mutations. Some friends have willingly donated old photos to it, bless them. Some more charming than shameful pics have slipped into the mix. But today I came face to face with the fact that the shame was not only to be found in the photos of my untameable adolescent hair but also inside the refrigerator as well. I couldn't show you the whole thing. The moldy squash and wilted cabbage says it all.

The approach of the new year makes me anxious for a clean and tidy place. It took me so long to clean out the fridge that I didn't get to much else today. But at least all that shame is back where it belongs, clinging to some cheap magnates.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jack LaLanne's Exercises for Librarians and Other Bookish Types

Oh yes, the sloth is off as I suspected it would be. I guess I usually don't make much of the beige malaise because when I'm holiday-ing with family (particularly the less familiar extended variety) I automatically turn off most of my personality. For some reason I've have the idea that being as unobtrusive and inoffensive as possible makes the time go faster or at least easier. It's not really true. It only makes the time less confrontational. Maybe next year, when my cousin toasts the troops because they are fighting for our freedom I will, in turn, toast Dennis Kucinich or some other fine liberal for not buying the bullshit. Maybe I'll politely ask my sister what it is about the bible that she actually believes and why. And maybe I'll scare my uncle with a little joke involving a rusty trombone and a dirty sanchez. Holiday madness would ensue and I might never be asked back again. Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The beige malaise continues. I did a small amount of mediocre writing this morning. One of my clients was really interesting, the rest weren't. My neck is hurting a little, but it's not too bad. Is this what it feels like to be on lithium, everything made bland? I even know that it will go away, probably soon, as the holidays dissipate. blah . . .blah. . .blah . . .

Monday, December 25, 2006

Despite the lack of blood relatives around today, I still have that familiar Christmas feeling of being overfed and slightly nauseous with a mixture of food, boredom and melancholy.

I am certain that this feeling will dissipate later this evening when I am with my friends eating our X-mas pizzas made from this overflowing dough and watching raunchy comedies. Praise jeebus.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The other night, coming back from Seattle, we drove by this house and all fell immediately into a state of wonder. I may not be a big fan of most things christmas, but I AM a big fan of tiny white lights. Which isn't to say I'm a big fan of this sort of thing:

Once, when I was a little girl, too little to remember much, our neighbors put up a huge and gaudy christmas display. My father, in turn, got up on the roof with his flashing lights and spelled out "Eat at Joe's." It may have been the last big joke my father ever made and, alas, there's not a single bit of photographic evidence to prove that it actually happened.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I started this year out hoping to expand my generosity and find that I have had some minor success. I think I'll start next year hoping to expand my gratitude.

There are two things I am grateful for today: The days get longer from here on out. The cat, if no one else, is really enjoying all the X-mas packaging sitting around the house.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Year of Serving Gracefully

Aah, the internet. With my family's reliance on the typical culprits of bland gifts for the home, I can easily look up the various serving platters they sent me and share photos of them here with you. If you wanted to share, why not take pictures, you ask? Well . . .I received these gifts just before the band came over for practice. With my office filled with boxes and wrapping paper and packaging, I brought these out to the dining room table and let the boys have their choice. You wouldn't think rock musicians would be so quick to grab up the Crate and Barrel goodies, but they did. They, in turn, will hand the platters over to girlfriends, in-laws, etc.

Say it's wrong to open my presents early. Say it's wrong to be so ungrateful. Say I'm a scrooge. I don't care. There is no possibility that any of my relatives saw these gifts and thought, "Oh, Tracy would love that. I HAVE to get it for her." My guess is they saw this stuff on one of their sweeps through the mall and it wasn't too expensive. If they knew me at all, they would know I am a hermit and never have people over for cheese and crackers. They would know that I have no clear cupboards and no open shelf space. NONE. I don't fault them for not knowing me. I don't fault them for being generous in giving me a gift at all. But I am tired, tired, tired of Christmas obligations. If you are moved to buy the perfect gift, get joy from giving it, then that's great. Otherwise, it's junk, a waste of money, time and paper. Giving me this crap doesn't keep me connected to my family or make Jesus happy. If they called me or wrote me a short note, I would be a million times more grateful. As it stands, this simply shows that too much of what we do, in my extended family at least, is follow the rules of family without much spirit or heart.

I'm done now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I often feel like an old lady with my various aches and pains. "You're falling apart" Sean always says. This, of course, is code for "Please stop whining about how much your shoulder/back/neck hurts." He's right and so is the acupuncturist I went to today. She didn't need all the alloted time for my appointment because I'm basically very healthy, not particularly neurotic and while I'm prone to cynicism and pessisism, there's not much acupuncture can do for my occasional bad attitude. I've got healthy genes and may very well live to see the day when I am an actual very old very grumpy lady.

Monday, December 18, 2006

We did a day trip to Seattle yesterday to see Bodies:The Exhibition. This pic is from my favorite section where they isolated the vascular system of various organs by injecting some kind of plastic into them then dissolved the rest of the tissue with chemicals. Amazing. I noticed this morning that going into the exhibit with a decent knowledge of muscles and bones helped me take away some interesting insight for my massage practice. As I worked on my first client this morning, I couldn't help but imagine the shape of the muscles more clearly and how, there, just under the first rib at the top of his shoulder, sat his lungs. Having examined all those flayed and displayed layers of skin, fat, muscles, veins and nerves, it is easy to see how everything is connected.

If you're anywhere near one of these shows, go see it. It's a million worlds away from the brightly colored anatomy drawings most of us know. They have a smoker's lungs and arteries clogged with atherosclerosis. Plus they also have a real teratoma tumor a type of growth that can contain hair and teeth. It reminded me of this story by Julia Slavin about a woman who grows teeth all over her body. It's posted on the Crescent Review website, but is also available in her book The Woman Who Cut off Her Leg at the Maidstone Club.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

See? I can do it too. I can get my ass up out of bed before sunrise. I got up to write not to witness the early pink and purple sky, but that was a bonus. I didn't want to get up, but I'm testing out my new year's resolutions, a trial run to see if there's any real possibility of following through with them. Today's test was to get up between 6am and 6:30am and sit my ass down to write. It worked out pretty well. I sat all bundled up in blankets on my new squishy couch and wrote on the laptop. I even had some minor revelations concerning my plot, the kind that might very well evaporate as soon as I try to actually write out the necessary scenes, but for today, I'll take it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Here's what my friend Ish wrote to me:
i wanted community via ideas & language but what i
realize now is that writing is the community.

My conscious mind is slightly baffled while my subconscious mind is delighted. Such is the way with me and Ish.

Listen to him make some noise and sing about girls.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Has the phenomena of the red living room invaded your town? I always wanted a red living room and when I bought my house didn't hesitate to bloody the walls up with a good dark coat of the stuff. As soon as I did this, I noticed dozens of other red living rooms just in my neighborhood alone. Did I subconsciously fall under the influence of some design trend? If it was a trend, it seems like an old one now. I'm thinking eggplant will be the new red, just like brown was once the new black. Forest green will be the new navy and mustard will be the new orange.

Monday, December 11, 2006

This is Carrie Underwood. Today, I flipped on the TV and saw her singing on Oprah. I was mesmerized. The girl had so much makeup on that it looked as though they had airbrushed her using some sort of two-second delay. Plus, she had on this weird gold cocktail/country denim outfit And then I listened to what she was singing. Apparently everyone in America knows this song and has put down actual money for it. For me, it was an introduction to a little thing called "Jesus, Take the Wheel."

So you're stressed out, haven't been to church in a while and you hit a patch of the deadly BLACK ICE. What's the best thing to do? Take your hands off the wheel and pray that Jesus will save your baby in the back seat. With faith returned, the mythical ghost will swoop down and steer the car into the spin the way the driver's ed teacher taught him. Everything will be okay. Everything will be okay. It's not your responsibility. Everything will be okay.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Okay, now back to the mexican cabana . . .

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I don't know...does the lack of effort in this "Christmas photo" show? I'm actually amazed that we did it. There was really no good reason to, other than I felt a little guilty just sending my aunts and uncles and grandmother a card and nothing else. Stupid Christmas gifts. I'm getting these printed in a "holiday frame" which I'm pretty sure will make my grandmother say "Isn't that sweet" right before she says "That boy needs to get a damn haircut" and "Poor girl got her mother's forehead." None of them will appreciate the danger we were putting ourselves in by holding the cat this way.

Friday, December 08, 2006

This is a photo taken by my friend, Joe, from jefdesigns. It's this morning's sunrise. Apparently we have some "stagnant air" hanging over Portland, the kind you get in summer when they tell you to not drive. Now they tell us to not drive and to not build fires. Makes for a pretty picture, though.

I find it odd that I get myself up at sunrise when I'm on vacation but sleep in when I'm back at work. I guess that's partly because I'm often on vacation without my personal space heater, otherwise known as Sean. It was easy to see the sunrise like I did in Manzanita when I was sleeping alone on a couch in front of a giant picture window. Or when the ocean was crashing outside the open window of my mexican cabana.

Oh mexican cabana . . .

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christo comes to the corner of 49th and Hawthorne.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's nice to sit back and, solely as an observer, admire the person you're with. Today I listened to my beaux defend his biggest dream with conviction. This is a pic of his band Funk Shui. Check them out. If you live in Portland, catch a show. They are all fine musicians deserving of far greater fame and fortune than they have received. But the lesson of today is to not give up hope. Or give up practicing. Or give up pushing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

This is Manzanita, a small town on the northern Oregon coast and the place I almost always mean when I say the beach, the beach, the beach. This trip, one of extended luxury, with a Friday departure and a late Monday return, was particularly brilliant. Three days of sun and almost no winds. The sunsets were practically heartbreaking. No, really. With the waxing moon lifting up from the horizon at the same time, the skyglow and the silvered dark gray sand, we were all in awe of the little spot of land we get to inhabit here.

Sunday morning I got up with the light and slipped into the hot tub on the second-floor deck of the house. A few birds marked the pale sky, the windbent evergreens shook off their gothic night time postures. The clouds were smudged pink. I felt the same way I did when watching the early morning waves of Tulum, the early morning air and animals; This is the way the world would feel without us.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The beach the beach the beach the beach the beach the beach...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

This a hanging bowl by Portland artist Carol Lebreton. She makes beautiful plates and bowls and wild rattling animals and plant pods all out of clay and magic. I bought this bowl for my sister even though I'm pretty sure I like it a lot more than she will. I try to support local artists when I can, especially around the holidays. It can be a challenge when it comes to buying for my relatives. My family has a fairly conservative, waspy aesthetic. I go to holiday craft and art fairs and everything is way too funky or retro or has too many pop culture references or is made out of felt. No matter how cute, useful or durable it may be, nobody in my family is going to be happy about a gift made of felt unless it's made by my four year old nephew.

I still say SHOP LOCAL even if it makes your family think you're weird. They probably think that anyway.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It was nice to see one of these horses still hanging in there. They used to be all over the city, wherever these rings were built into the curbs. How could this not make you a little bit happier? But they get stolen, probably just because they can be. Fuckers.

Read more about the Horse Project and look at the cool pictures there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Not today, but the feeling of today. In other words, better, softer, sweeter. This was taken from the car window on the road to the beach where I will be in three days. No computers. No clients. Just storm watching and fire watching, whiskey and hot tubs. Aaah.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I went to this school in the corner of Vermont to watch fireflies and to listen. I came away with a new pile of debt and a few acquaintances that occasionally feel like friends. I don't feel nostalgic for the place. The irritating combination of boredom and fear that pervaded my days there will keep me from ever longing for them back. But there is something that nags. Surrounded by those flashes of talent and the steady flow of ambition, it was easy to believe I was a writer. Now, over a year later, I struggle to maintain that belief. While I generally succeed, the effort often leaves me ragged.

Pardon the whining. Just suffering a bit of that writer's isolation I've heard so much about. Good stuff.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

There is no adequate caption I could write for this catalogue photo. I can't stop looking at it. I can't stop thinking that if I don't buy some knitted neck warmers this man will drive his son to my house and the boy will sneak into my bedroom and kill me with an injection of poison, expertly delivered.

This whole site is chock full of oddly compelling knitwear and aerobics clothes and art.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

When I'm waiting to go home after the gym, I sit and look at this sign across the street from the bus stop. Apparently, there's great, I mean GREAT opportunities to be had in selling jerky over the internet. The patriotic banners and endearing handwritten plea almost had me convinced. Plus, I kept reading the first part of their website as FUTURE ME AT and while I didn't know what it meant to future someone, I thought it sounded interesting.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I highly recommend the red umbrella. People around here don't use umbrellas as much as you'd expect in such a rainy climate. It takes a steady downpour before most people do anything but pull the hood up on their raincoat and duck their heads. But today I ran my errands under cover of my new red umbrella and found it actually made the thick, flat, grayness of the morning seem a little less oppressive.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks for a grand meal lovingly cooked and served to both myself and our cat.
Thanks for two kinds of chocolate pie.
Thanks for a day of doing nothing I didn't want to do.
Thanks for my family (in some far away state).
Thanks for my friends.
Thanks for this little life.